Although at their hearts geeks are jealous of mainstream folks and long for their approval, geeks continually attempt to define themselves by their opposition to the mundanes. Nothing brings a geek more joy than the thought that someone out there is horrified at the unorthodox thing he’s doing.
As a result, the only thing geeks find funnier than a pointless pop culture reference is “offensive” humor. Since their enjoyment of it depends primarily on the reactions of imaginary strangers, it’s a bit like masturbation, only they can do it in public.As far as a geek is concerned, any joke or cartoon or comedy sketch is automatically hilarious if it contains one or more of the following: Hitler, abortion, necrophilia, cannibalism, Jesus, pedophilia, or rape. It’s also good if the joke is misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or antisemitic, though the person making the joke and the people laughing at it will be sure to argue that it is funny because they aren’t really any of those things.
Webcomics in particular adore this humor, since it spares them the difficulty of actually being funny, having characters anyone cares about, or even being able to draw. Why bother putting any kind of effort into your work if instead you can just have a character threaten to murder another and rape the corpse? It’s so wrong!
And of course, as with anything else, for a geek it doesn’t count as them liking it unless they can slap it on a t-shirt, so many of these uproariously offensive “gags” make it into the hallowed medium of white writing on a black shirt, the khaki pants or polo shirt of the geek world. Although the geek will happily wear this shirt to the mall or movie theater in the hopes of really freaking out or annoying the mundanes, he’ll also proudly wear it to the comic book store, where everyone seeing it is already in a similar mindset as himself. It’s actually better in this environment because then maybe someone will point out how awesome and hilarious the geek’s shirt is and he can regale them with stories of the people who freaked out because of it, none of which are true.
You’ll see the same behavior on Internet forums such as those on 4chan or Something Awful, where the participants are all looking to impress each other with jokes that they imagine are violating the sensitivities of nobody who is actually reading them or cares what is being said. Having then completely disgusted their imaginary audience, they can then high-five and continue with stories of the outlandish things they did or said to Jehovah’s Witnesses or telemarketers, none of which are true.
The reality is, nobody reads these stupid shirts, and nobody cares about them except the geeks themselves. They ultimately have the same effect as those Christian shirts that replace popular slogans and logos with religious ones. They’re just another sad facet of the geeks’ imaginary war against the mainstream. There’s nobody out there who, upon reading the geek’s webcomic or manga of choice, becomes horrified and outraged and has their entire worldview shattered by this irreverent lampooning. But geeks are not ones to let the indifference of the machine spoil their raging.
Geeks LOVE “offensive” humor because OMG it’s SO WRONG.